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Milwaukee Brewers 2020 Season Report Card: Ryan Braun

Matt Carroll
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports /
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Our 2020 Milwaukee Brewers report card series continues on as we grade the season performance of right fielder Ryan Braun.

When the shortened 2020 season was announced along with its rule changes, many thought it would benefit some players more than others. One of those Brewers players it would supposedly benefit the most was veteran right fielder Ryan Braun.

Being a player who has needed load management to keep his nagging injuries kept as far at bay as possible, the implementation of the designated hitter plus a shorter season to grind through should have been perfect for a player like Braun.

What did end up happening in 2020 was a bit of a mixed bag. Braun avoided an IL stint to start the season, got a slow start offensively, eventually found himself on the IL anyway, and then had a scorching final month to the season before one of those nagging injuries prematurely ended what could have been his final playoff run as a Brewer.

So with all of those facts taken into consideration, how does Braun grade out in his 14th season as a Milwaukee Brewer?

Ryan Braun 2020 Season Report Card

C+

Braun’s biggest knock on his 2020 season was his inability to stay on the field. After neck and back injuries threatened, ultimately unsuccessfully, to make him miss Opening Day, an infected finger resulted in a stint on the injured list for a little over a week at the beginning of August.

The end result was Braun only being able to play in 39 of the team’s 60 games in 2020. That would be equivalent to roughly105 games played over a normal 162-game season, which would’ve been the third lowest total of his long career.

Potentially related to those injuries was Braun’s slow offensive start to the season. By the end of August, he was slashing just .182/.239/.348 with 14 strikeouts to only 4 walks. But as has been the case for so many previous seasons, Braun got hot once the calendar flipped to September.

Braun’s slash line jumped all the way up to .286/.324/.635 the final month of 2020, slugging six of his eight home runs on the season over that span. It helped keep the team’s anemic offense afloat just long enough for the Brewers to back into their third-straight playoff appearance.

In the end, there was some good and some bad with Braun’s final stat line. Among the bad, aside from the total amount of games played, was a .233 batting average, a .281 on base percentage, and a 5.0% walk rate, all of which were the lowest marks of his career.

Still, Braun’s September run helped some of his other numbers look relatively okay by the end of the season. His final .488 slugging percentage ranked fourth highest on the team while his 89.8 average exit velocity ranked third. He also was one of the only Brewers who did see his strikeout rate significantly rise as his 19.1% mark was just a tick above his 18.6% career rate.

Sadly, those numbers may be the last we see from Braun as a Milwaukee Brewer. With rumors that the NL may not have the DH return for 2021, it gets tough to justify bringing him back. And in fact the Brewers took an expected step on Thursday when they declined their part of his $15MM mutual option, per reports.

Next. Three Players the Brewers Wish They Still Had. dark

It may not have been the perfect scenario that fans originally envisioned, but Braun still had his high points in 2020. Hopefully he ends up getting one more chance to make some final memories as a Brewer.

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